People say they knew what they were doing when certain events occurred in their lives: Kennedy's assassination; the Cuban missile crisis; John Lennon's assassination; the Challenger explosion. I was too young to remember the first two. I remember sitting in my friend's dorm room when we got the news and later looking at the Rolling Stone with Annie Leibowitz' photographs. I have no recollection of what I was doing when the Challenger exploded. But the day four hijacked planes crashed, killing over 4000 people, is very vivid in my mind.
I woke to NPR talking about the first plane's crash into the World Trade Center and heard the announcement of the second plane crashing there. I heard about the plane crashing into the Pentagon and later the plane dropping to crash in rural Pennsylvania. I watched briefly on TV the coverage while I dressed for work and fed my cats, not sure what to think. When I got to work, everyone was listening to the radio. Few spoke. Many were numb. Not much work got done to say the least but we were together. We could look to each other for some sort of comfort.
That solidarity really came into being when all of a sudden it was announced that there was the possibility of a bomb in the building and we had to leave it NOW. Don't stop to pick up your purse. Get. Out. Now. We piled out of the building and across the street to a neighboring parking lot in the sunny September noontime, frightened by this threat. It was a good hour before they gave us the go ahead to return to our offices to pick up our things. We were told to go home. It was just as well as we would have been next to useless for the rest of the day. The towers had collapsed by then and we were all shaken from the bomb threat.
Since then, I've had to really think about my own beliefs. I'm one for negotiation and diplomacy to ensure the peace. I was ambivalent about going to Afghanistan and definitely opposed to invading Iraq. It was a difficult thing to decide upon. I could not deny the families of those who had been killed their anger and desire for resolution. But I could also see that retaliation for the attacks would take us down a path of no return. The war we would be fighting wouldn't have a simple front line but many front lines with many innocents in the way. I got into an argument with a friend of mine over this because she was for full invasion. She had lived in the London area during the time of many IRA bombings. She understood what it meant to live in terror. But I also saw the results of the years after then. People grew tired of the militancy and the fear. They chose peace. In the meantime, both sides developed ways of dealing with terrorism. It led to the breakup of another attempt to hijack planes in London. Yes, I was afraid when the bomb threat was called in. But I also was thinking who was the stupid jerk who was preying on our fears? Was it a patient angry about his bill? Was it just a copycat who was getting his ya-yas from frightening an office building full of financial clerks and analysts? I was no longer afraid. I was pissed. But not pissed enough to demand that the army be called in and hunt down the idiot, then leave him for us to rip him to shreds.
I think what bothers me the most is the arrogance that some people have that because we are Americans and live in a country that has a large economic and military effect on world affairs. It's an arrogance born of not knowing poverty, of not experiencing government corruption, of feeling that the privilege is God-given and damn those who don't follow in the path of the righteous. I was aware of that arrogance prior to the attacks, but the behavior of the nation since the attacks has reinforced this in my eyes, and made me sick to think that these are my fellow countrymen.
I will not leave my country. This is but a phase that will pass. I will remain here doing what I can to make change happen and support those who also desire change. I will sing for the voiceless. I am an American.
Whew! If it weren't for knitting, I'd probably be curled up in my chair with my nose buried in a thick book trying to escape all the media circus. I started working on the second patch go-round for my sister's dog sweater on a set of Crystal Palace circular zeroes and ran into the problem of the join. I ended up ordering a set of Addi Turbos from Woodland Woolworks. I don't want to do too much fine work right now as I'm feeling twinges from the muscles in my right arm tightening up again and cutting off the nerve circulation to the thumb and forefinger. Must be ready for Sock Wars. I can't wait to start on the Araucania! In the meantime, I'll check out the latest Knitty and maybe even cruise MagKnits pattern archive for goodies, snicker!